When I was a girl, maybe 7 or 8 years old, I wanted a dog.
I wanted a dog more than anything. I desperately wanted a dog. And there was no way we were getting a dog. My mom was afraid of dogs. More accurately, my mom was AFRAID of dogs. Sometimes she would cross the street if a dog was barking in a house we were walking past. (Do you remember that, siblings? Or did I make that up?)
So I imagined some dogs. Actually, I imagined 100 dogs. I chose breeds and names and spent hours taking care of them, playing with them and would go to sleep at night saying goodnight to them one at a time. I’m sure that back then I could have told you about each dog in great detail.
I also remember that when we moved the summer I was 9, I decided I was too old to still have those imaginary dogs. So I left them behind. I felt sad and grown up at the same time.
Fortunately for me these many years later, I made a list of the dogs! Recently I was going through a box of photo albums, journals and other flotsam and jetsam from my life and found the first page:
(It is quite a mystery to me why it says “Toothpick” in pen near the top.)
What a find! I shared it with LP and she has been wildly interested in it. She loves to have me read the list and through the power of her imagination, has brought the imaginary dogs into our home. (She too is a girl who loves dogs and we are certainly not getting a dog anytime soon.) It is sweet to get reacquainted with Chinkie, Splotch, Dandy, Butterscotch and the rest and experience imaginary dogs through her eyes. Even better, in addition to playing with the imaginary dogs from the list, she is adding her own.
Over the weekend, as she sat swinging away in the park, LP asked me “When you were a little girl, did you have six imaginary comets?” When I said no and asked her if she had six imaginary comets, she smiled a huge smile and started to tell me all about them (they live in the large cracked pot in the backyard for starters).
The things we can do with our imaginations…just beautiful! I hope she doesn’t feel the need to grow up and leave imaginary dogs and comets behind too soon.
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